WASHINGTON (5/10/13)--Initial claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week to the lowest level in nearly five-and-a-half years, the Labor Department said Thursday.
Last week's decline is a sign that employers have sufficient confidence to keep workers on their payrolls and indicates the resilience of the labor market amid fiscal austerity (Bloomberg.com, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Moody's Economy.com May 9).
Claims decreased 4,000--to 323,000--in the week ended May 4--the fewest since January 2008--Labor Department figures indicated. Economists had forecast 335,000 claims for the week, according to a Bloomberg survey.
Also, the four-week moving average of initial jobless claims--which smoothes weekly volatility--dropped 6,250--to 336,750--on a seasonally adjusted basis for last week. That was the lowest level since November 2007--before the recession, the Journal said.
With employers relying on existing staff to keep pace with consumer demand, job dismissals fell in 2013, Bloomberg said.
More gains in the labor market are dependent on a pick-up in hiring, which would provide work for some of 11.7 million unemployed U.S. citizens and bolster consumer spending, Bloomberg said.